Annual property reassessments in Southampton Town based on market trends will be halted for two years under a policy adopted unanimously by the Town Board on Tuesday while a committee studies their impacts on seniors and other people with fixed or limited incomes.
Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who proposed the hiatus after many residents complained to him about sudden, sharp hikes in the assessed valuations of their properties this year, said the committee will also look into possible mechanisms to protect those property owners from sudden, sharp increases in assessed value, which he said could drive up their tax bills. Every member of the Town Board signed on as a co-sponsor of the proposal.
The board voted after several speakers complained about sharp increases in their property assessments. Yolanda Field of Sag Harbor said her property assessment rose a total of $431,800 in three years.
“Why do we get charged for things our neighbors do?” she asked, explaining that a neighbor must have “put a million dollars” into an addition on the house next door. That meant a higher assessed valuation for her own property, under the “market trend analysis” system the town assessor’s office uses to update the value of all properties.
Greg Robins of North Sea, the Republican candidate for supervisor challenging Mr. Schneiderman, complained that the halt “freezes assessments at the top of the market.” Taxpayers can still challenge their assessments if property values fall during the two-year pause, the supervisor said. Grievance Day is on Tuesday, May 21 in both East Hampton and Southampton Towns.